26 May 2008

CAMEROON : Who will be suiting up for the Indomitable Lions in Athens?

But the big question is: Will there be a national-team present in Athens at all?
There are no news at all regarding the needed budget which means no preparation camps, no money for flights and hotels and in the end no national-team in Greece, which would be the worse-case-scenario.

Let's assume the government sends a team to Greece in the very last minute (Which I would bet my money on), who would be part of the team?

It took me some time to compromise a list, here are the possibilities:

Guards:

Parfait Bitee (4,1 ppg 1,6 apg in Angola 2007), who was recruited by Adingono during his time at Rhode Island (Averaged 11,8 points and 4,7 assists in his senior season), should receive a call-up for Athens. But he would probably not be available for a potential camp in June if he works out with a couple of NBA-teams due to the upcoming NBA draft. If he makes it in time for Greece, he may showcase his skills in front of European scouts which may leads to a job in Europe if the NBA is not calling (Which is likely according to most draft-related websites).

Patrick Bouli (9,2 ppg 2 spg in Angola) of Manhattan University should also be in the mix. Pat was instrumental in the quarter-final winner over the Ivory Coast, but had a forgettable college basketball-season in New York, seeing his numbers decreasing (Averaged 6,3 ppg as a freshman in 31,4 mpg - last season he recorded 3,5 ppg in 21,4 minutes per game...) and just scoring 39 % of your field goals does not really gives him the edge over Bitee.

Joachim Ekanga Ehawa (9,7 ppg in Angola) is a much needed veteran on the shooting guard-spot with plenty of experience which he gained in numerous seasons in France. Played Pro A this year (Chalone-sur-Saone) where he played off the bench (2,5 ppg and 2 rpg 29% FG) after being a starter in his last four season in Pro B where he always scored in double digits.

Saidou Njoya has been scouted by the NBA thanks to his appearance in an Adidas camp in the US but failed to crack the rotation in Nancy and left for Norrköpping in Sweden where he got significant playing time in five games (8,2 ppg ; 4,2 apg) before returning back to Nancy.

Cyrille Etogo Makanda did not see a lot of minutes in the Russian Super League and in the FIBA Europe Cup behind the three import players in Samara (Makanda is dual-citizen, holding also a Russian passport) and therefore had a disappointing season.

Christian Bayang (6,2 ppg in Angola) is a mostly unknown but talented guard from Yaounde where plays and studies at BEAC , a Cameroonian hotbed for basketball talents. Played his part in Angola and deserves another chance to showcase his skills to a wider audience.

Franck Ndongo does not see any key minutes at Virginia Commonwealth in the U.S. which hurts definitely his productivity and may cost him a place on the roster.

Jean-Pierre Ellong is the other talented guard from BEAC who was also part of the team in Angola, but may be not ready yet for the competition in Athens.


Forwards:

Brice Vounang (12,3 ppg 7,0 rpg in Angola), a power forward with a promising college-career (San Diego), is in his second year in Rouen (Pro B France) and comes from the bench to average around 10 points and five rebounds after a stronger first season (14,6 ppg and 7,7 rpg) there.
Still, his team is doing better now and is facing Besancon in the Pro B play-offs. He is a definite fixture (Captain of the team) due to his good performance in Angola.

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (13,2 ppg 6,8 rpg in Angola) reached one more time the NCAA Final Four with UCLA and should be a starter for Coach Adingono. No need to explain that he may be one of the smartest defenders around and that he is still developing his shooting skills to be a lock in the NBA Draft.

Gaston Essengue (10,5 ppg 4,5 rpg in Angola) made the Sweet 16 with UNLV last year but has failed to get any attention in the professional ranks while playing or not playing due to injuries at Mutlu Aku Selcuk University in Turkey. Gaston is facing a lot of rivalry for a possible roster-spot in Athens, but due to his strong outing in Angola, may suit up in Greece again.

Stephane Pelle is maybe the strongest player on the forward spot if not the team due to his experience, and his rebounding and scoring skills should boost the teams' chances to win significantly. Had another strong season in Liege (Belgium) and averaged 12,4 ppg and 7,4 rpg in the regular season.

Victor "Mystic" Samnick should also be added to the squad. He is a force in the paint and knows how to score in variable ways.
Victor is currently in the semi-finals with Nancy in the French Pro A and is one of the key players on the team there.

Joseph Mbang finished his senior-year in Rhode Island while averaging 6,3 ppg and 4,1 rpg for the Rams. With a good outing in Athens, Mbang may sign a good deal in Europe. But first, he has to make the national-team, which is not easy due to a lot of quality on the

Harding Nana just finished his season in the Polish league finals with Turow, but was used solely from the bench (8 mpg) for the runner-ups in the Polish championship.

Serge Angounou had a solid season (5,5 ppg) in the D-League with Albuquerque (Lost in the finals to Idaho) but visa trouble may force him to stay in the US.

Alex N'kembe is a 1,98m small forward who played also for Cameroon in Angola and currently for La Rochelle Rupella in France's Nationale 2.Has some valuable experience in professional basketball (France and Switzerland) but is more of a role player on the national-team.

Steve Tchiengang played together with Wangmene at Cypress Christian High School in Texas before transferring to Montverde Academy, where Mbah A Moute among others evolved. He is set to play at Vanderbilt (NCAA) in the upcoming season which could force him not to attend any other activities in this summer. He may not be ready for the international stage at the moment as well.

Wilfred Fameni had also a mediocre senior-season at Virginia Commonwealth by averaging 4,5 points and 3,8 rebounds per game for the Rams.
Fameni would sneak into the team if the players mentioned above decide not to go.

Centers:

Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje of Oldenburg provides NBA experience if selected. Is going to marry soon, so I have no idea if he is going to be available. Not a scorer but a reliable team-player who is loved by the fans.

Joseph Owona (4,8 ppg 6,3 rpg in Angola) is another bulky veteran on the squad who is having a career in the lower leagues in France.
Plays around 20 minutes for Bordeaux in each game and is posting solid numbers (11,5 points, 7,2 rebounds and 2,6 blocks) in Nationale 1, the third French division.

Alfred Aboya reached together with Mbah a Moute the Final Four but played off the bench and averaged 2,9 ppg and 2,2 rpg in limited minutes for the Bruins. Alf should be used in a smaller line-up on the center-spot. Aboya may not return to UCLA and may opt to pursue a career in politcs.Athens would be a perfect fit to study the history of democracy...

Herve Djoumbi finished his season in Belgium with Leuven where scored 2,9 ppg in limited action. Knows the European game well, as he played several years in Lithuania, Russia and Belgium and should be a good addition to the roster.

Alexis Wangmene played off the bench as a freshman for the Texas Longhorns. Is probably not a perfect fit (Only 2,03m but has a great wingspan) to play the center-spot against bigger teams, but is known for rebounding which would may help down the stretch.

My "picks" for Athens probably would be:

Guards:
Bitee, Boli, Ekanga-Ehawa, and Makanda
Forwards:
Mbah a Moute, Essengue, Pelle, Vounang and Samnick
Centers:
Boumtje Boumtje, Wangmene and Owona

It would be a mix of youth and experience and Cameroon would have some players that know the European and the American competitions well. Several players on the squad are able to score and are known for rebounding and defense, while I may see problems on the guard positions, as Bitee and Boli never played against such strong competition internationally and maybe struggle against the likes of Planinic, Barea and Arroyo.
If Boumtje Boumtje decides not to attend, the team may lack height, especially against Croatia which is stacked with tall players.

Cameroon will still fight for the last tickets to Bejing, that's for sure, and that hopefully with the best team available.

by fiba.com

Comments:
I personally appreciate the fact that you are talking about Basketball in Cameroon. After all for the past 3 yrs, unbeknownst to many, Cameroon has been one of the team most represented in the NCAA tournament. Besides Football ( Soccer), we have a lot of players at the college level ( among the most represented in the NCAA for a country with less than 20 millions inhabitants).
Also the quality of the players in the NCAA and eventually the NBA ( for we are certain of that) will continue to improve.
I like your selection of players but I dont think it is that best possible team.
 
Thanks for the great job. In fact most of these players are actually on camp.
My best 12 would be
PG: Bitee, Bouli
G:Ekanga, Makanda, Bayang
F: Mbah a moute, Angounou
PF: Vounang,Aboya, Nana Harding
C: Boumtje, Pelle
 
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